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Out of the Box

by M. Sebasky

[Story Headers]

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003 9:40 PM


Alex Krycek comes out of the alley with a newspaper in his hand. The headline reads, "U.N. Embassy Bombed in Baghdad." He glances at the paper and then throws it on the ground, content to watch it drift away in the light summer breeze.

Terrorism is the least of the world's troubles in the years ahead and he's come back for the ride, two arms where there once was one, dressed in black. He looks up at the summer sky, overcast and gray, feels hot air against his skin, his pores opening up, the film of sweat starting to form on his forehead. He's alive again and it feels grand. I'm the rock and roll messiah, he thinks and it cracks him up.

It's time to get some things done, it's time to save the world whether it wants to be saved or not. Lock up your daughters and hide your guns, he's back, resurrected from beyond. Maybe he and Mulder will finally have something to talk about after all these years. As he hears it, Mulder knows something about being dead.

Glory, hallelujah. It's good to be back.


"I saw you die!"

"I'm not dead."

"But I saw---"

"Walter, Walter, Walter. You've got to get your eyes checked."

"I SHOT YOU IN THE HEAD."

"Dare to dream, Walter. Dare to dream."

The bruise under Skinner's right eye is starting to come out. It is an Indian sunset of greens, reds and purples. Krycek suppresses the urge to sing that Canadian Mounties song that has the long, drawn out "yoooo-hooo-hooo-hooo" and settles for a roundhouse to Skinner's jaw instead. His newly restored arm packs a fine punch, especially when his knuckles are dressed in brass.

Skinner's head snaps back so hard that for a moment, he thinks he may have gone too far. It won't do to kill the money and Skinner is a living Wheel of Information Fortune.

The A.D. is still part of the living. He groans then slumps forward, blood dripping from his mouth, spitting out parts of teeth.

"You. Bash---bashtard---"

"I think that's enough name calling for today, Walt." He leans forward, putting his mouth against Skinner's ear. He enjoys the way the big man flinches at his touch, feels himself rise because of it. Besides, Skinner's look of pain gives him an intensity that is downright yummy. If Big W doesn't stop looking all vulnerable here soon, he might just have to leave some deliveries in the rear before this is over.

He allows himself the brush of lips against Skinner's earlobe. He'd really like to bite the ear clean off, but he restrains himself for now. Paybacks are only hell for for the payees. Those delivering these precious moments should savor and enjoy.

"Now Walter," he croons, "be a good boy. Just tell me."

Skinner is too weak to raise his head. "Fuckin..bash...turd." he whispers.

Two things Krycek's certain of: Walter is sexy when he's suffering and he loves to watch the A.D. suffer. He lets out a long hot breath and watches in delight as Skinner's earlobe turns bright red.

"Walter, are you going to tell me? Or am I going to have to pound it out of you?"

Skinner doesn't answer. His labored breathing rasps in and out in the quiet apartment.

Fine, Krycek thinks. If Skinner wants to play hard ball, he'll get hard ball. He can work with that. He checks the doubled wrapped wire he's used to secure the A.D.'s hands and feet and then pushes the big man out of the chair where he lies with his face buried in the couch.

It's like a balky mule, he thinks, unbuckling his pants, unzipping his fly, watching Skinner as he starts struggling at the sounds. A mule doesn't want to be cooperative. A mule wants to do what a mule wants to do, like when it leaves a man handcuffed to a balcony in the freezing cold.

He takes his stiffened cock in hand and presses a knee in the center of Skinner's back, putting weight against the vertebrae, just enough pressure to keep him still and in pain. He reaches in a side pocket and with a practiced flick, pulls out a small sharp knife. It's so nice to have two arms again.

"Stay still, Walter dear," he murmurs, laughing softly at the string of muffled curses Skinner yells into the couch. Watching the knife slide under the denim, watching it cut away the seat of the pants only makes him harder. Yes, Walter Skinner is an unrepentant mule and he'll ride this mule until it breaks and brays out what he wants to know.

He reaches down and pulls Skinner's hips upwards, positioning himself, finding the angle he wants before he thrusts forward too fast, tearing, pushing his way in, feeling Skinner resist every inch, smiling as Skinner's screams rip the stillness to tatters.

"That'll---teach---you---to---kill---me---" he grunts, each thrust more savage than the last.

Two hours later, he is on his way south. Walter Skinner, if he was still breathing, would have felt right at home in Tunisian prison and yes, he's been sent back to help save the world, but some justice had to be served. After all, the dude shot him in the head.

He turns the sports coupe onto the Beltway. Based on Skinner's squealing, the first stop is south, south of the Border, down the Mexico way.


It's hot down here, hot and sticky. The air is thick with dust. No wind graces the little town of Los Manos, not today. Today it hides between the mountains and the desert; a place no one would want to be and therefore a place no one would think to look.

She's grown careless, Krycek thinks, watching the surprise on her face when she answers the door, watching her eyes grow wide, her mouth open to yell or scream but there's no time because he's clapped a hand over it before she can make a sound, pushing forward and sideways, pinning her to the wall inside the door.

A tear slips and wets his hand. His other hand snakes down the front of her pants and grows wet too.

"Shhhh," he croons. "Daddy's home."

Another tear falls, and another. Marita's face is streaked with them. He removes his hand from her face and her mouth is on his with a force that knocks him backwards.

They take each other like dogs; moving from the spotless entryway to the hall to the floor of the bedroom. She doesn't question why he's back, doesn't want to know what happened, where he's been. She doesn't even comment on his new arm. She says nothing but his name, repeats it over and over again, as she takes and is taken in return.

Afterwards, she lays her head on his chest. "I knew that wasn't you under the bed," she says. "I knew you were alive."

"Under the bed?"

"It's not important." She snuggles closer.

He looks sideways and lifts the dust ruffle that hangs down from the bed. There is a white plastic box snuggled up with several dust bunnies in the space between the mattress slats and the floor.

"Wait a minute." He starts to sit up. "If that's me, I'm supposed to be scattered over the ocean---"

She pushes him back to the floor, looks directly at his face. "I'm sorry. I just---I couldn't." Her fingertips run lightly over his cheeks. "Where have you been?"

He smiles up past her at the adobe ceiling. "Under the bed."

She smirks the way she always did when she believed he was lying to her. He sighs. "Marita, look at me."

She obliges and pushes herself up to get a better view. This time, he sees it register. Slowly, her fingers move to unbutton his shirt. Her hands are visibly shaking by the time she pushes the fabric back. She glances up at his face.

"There's no-- "

"I wanted to be scattered over the ocean. You should have scattered me over the ocean."

She returns to the sleeve, hands shaking so badly that she is only able to pull it in frantic tugs. He raises his arm to accommodate her. The shirt sleeve yanks off, exposing his arm, strong and whole.

Her face has turned a yellowish-green. She backs away like a human spider, hitting the wall too hard. Her mouth opens and closes. It reminds him of a fun house door.

He sits up, pulls his shirt the rest of the way off for effect. He can't resist. "Ta da!" He turns the arm over and flexes his hand.

"You're dead," she croaks.

"Not any more."

She's struggling with it. He can see how much she wants this to be true. "I cremated you," she says.

"That part you got right."

She's crying again. "Is it you? Is it?"

He moves towards her, slow and careful in his approach. "It's me."

"How?"

Finally, the question he's been waiting for. He continues inching forward, careful, so careful not to spook her. "In a nutshell: hyper-accelerated cloning. They can get your memories back if you've been infected with the black oil. They had me from before, knew who I was up to a certain point and the rest was no more than a simple history lesson."

She looks at him with the eyes of a child who wants so much to believe in Santa Claus but has seen with their own eyes their parents sneaking out with gifts in the middle of the night---

From another room a real child starts to cry.

They both freeze. Marita's eyes dart towards the sound. Before he can register it, she is on her feet, fastening her pants, smoothing her shirt, moving towards the door. "Excuse me," she mutters and is gone.

He hears her feet move down the hall and a door snick open. "Well, look who woke up!" she says, false cheer ringing like a bell before the door clicks closed again.

He reaches over and picks up his shirt, puts it on. The house is clean but the grit from the outside air has finely coated his exposed body. He sits on the floor, propped up on his hands, staring into the air, listening for a moment before getting to his feet.

He leaves the room, walks down the hall, away from the muted voices and finds a tasteful living room across from the entryway. He sits down on the striped chintz sofa, places his chin on his tented hands, demoted from lover to guest in a matter of seconds. In light of what he thinks is coming, he's okay with that.

The voices come closer. "You want some juice?"

"Yeth."

"Yes what?"

"Yeth plee, Mommy."

Sitting in the living room, still sticky from fucking "Mommy", he can't help it; he starts to laugh. Alien history 101 was supposed to prepare him for everything. Nothing was supposed to surprise him any more. How refreshing it feels to be surprised.

He leans back and runs the tip of his tongue over the smooth ridge of his teeth. As the little blonde boy comes charging in the room, bottle of juice in hand and stops cold at the sight of the stranger sitting on the couch, he gives the child a smile a shark would envy and thinks how good it is to be alive.


It's a long way from Mexico to where he's going but there's time for side trips and always room for beer. Besides, if a man's got to do what a man's got to do, it also holds true that when a man's got to go, a man's got to go.

The site is nothing but ruins now, jagged pieces of stone that put him in a fanciful mood. Krycek sits on top of one of the slabs of rock and thinks the great stones blasted out of the cliff face by the missile's impact look like Goliath's teeth; dental remnants of a giant slain by a lesser but smarter force.

Well, he thought that when he first sat down about three hours ago. He doesn't really think that now. What he thinks now is, "Those are some teethy lookin' rocks." It makes him laugh a lot.

He cracks open another beer. He is, by all definitions of the word, about as drunk as a man can get, certainly as drunk as he has ever been. He looks westward towards the setting sun and thinks about howling. He decides against it. It is too predictable and he prefers the quiet. Besides he's not completely sure he won't throw up.

She had a kid she swears isn't his but he knows that she knows that he knows she's lying. The kid is his and her story about "how many men she was sleeping with at the time" and how "his father was some guy she picked up at a bar because she was lonely and missed him so much" is just a lotta horseshit. He told her that he didn't care, he was flattered, he didn't come back to hurt her, she could keep the money and...he told her something else something about...anyway, it made sense when he was sober. Not so much now---oh look! A coyote!

The animal trots along the valley floor below him, no more than fifty yards away. It's a perfect target. "Fuckin' coyote," he mumbles, reaching in his jacket for his SIG. He'd asked for a SIG. It's what he was used to. They used them at the academy; they train you to love a SIG. And really, what wasn't to love? It was such a nice weapon, sleek and powerful and caught on the lining of his jacket--

He pulls too hard and there's a ripping sound. "SHIT," he yells and the word echoes off the canyons in the still night air. He yanks the gun loose along with some fabric that looks to be a distant cousin to satin. Damn gun ripped his coat. Damn gun.

He jerks the jacket off and it gets caught on the SIG and now he looks like an asshole, standing there with the jacket caught on his weapon which yes, by god, is still in his hand because no, he doesn't drop his gun, that's pansy-assed Mulder's trick, the motherfucker is always dropping his goddamn gun and yes, he had been tempted to buy some superglue when they were partners and try to attach the thing in the guy's hand but they were partners and the word "partners" mean people that were supposed to support each other and Mulder wouldn't know support if you handed him a jock strap and a push up bra and now, now the goddamn coyote is staring at him.

The coyote stands so still it seems made of one of the stones that surround it but oh yes, it's alive all right. It's alive and it's baiting him, just like the old man used to do. The old man loved to bait him, thrived on it. He was the old man's personal trout bitch, he got baited so much. And that was the reason he was here today, wasn't it? He's here because of the old man. This, according to Miss I'm-So-Lonely-For-You-I-Had-Another-Guy's-Baby-But-What-I-Really-Am-Is-A-Great-Big-Liar was where the old man finally bought it. He's come to see it for himself because he had to see. He had to see because you had to be careful when you were dealing with old men and coyotes.

"I see you," he says as he sits back down, trying not to wobble. He can't wobble in front of the coyote. It's important. He can't remember the exact reason why, but he knows it's important.

Oh yes. The old man. The old man had eyes like the coyote, eyes that drilled into you. Eyes that didn't care what they did or who they gutted. He and Miss Lying-Pants pushed the old man down a flight of stairs and he'd be happy to push the coyote down the stairs given the chance.

He steadies himself and untangles his weapon. Say hello to Mr. SIG, coyote. Too bad you're not the old man. It would be fun to kill him again.

Slowly he raises the gun, takes aim and fires. The bullet misses the coyote by inches. His aim's not bad considering how drunk he is. He impresses himself.

He fires again. The bullet whizzes past the animal. He fires and misses again and again until the chamber is empty and even then he keeps firing, enjoying the click of the hammer. What this situation needs is a pickup and a gun rack, he thinks and collapses in laughter. When he looks up, wiping his streaming eyes, the coyote is still there. It has flattened itself to the ground and is slowly creeping backwards, the way it came. It is regarding him as a dangerous lunatic. The coyote is smart. The coyote wants to live.

Watching the coyote try to escape he thinks about how careful you have to be with old men and coyotes. They were wily, living on the outside of things, walking on the fringe of life, never in the middle. Nothing and no one wanted old men and coyotes. The only fit place for them was out in the desert where they could go about their business without prying eyes, without anyone knowing what was in their hearts. They were perpetual outsiders; not belonging, never having, just surviving. He understands them better than anyone because he's one of them: he is an old man coyote.

The gun sags in his hand. He is an old man coyote. It's never been clearer in his drunken regenerated life. That coyote, the old man, they are his unwanted family. They know him, they alone understand what it's like to be alone, to do the things that have to be done to survive, to just get through another day. That's why the old man could always bait him. That's why he'll let the coyote live.

Something tightens in his chest. It could be tears, but it might be liquor. In any case, he fights against it. Old men coyotes don't sit on cliffs and cry or puke about their outcast state. It's not their mysterious way.

Down below, the coyote is still beating its slow retreat, still trying to save its mangy skin. He sees it and waves the gun in the air. "Go," he yells. "Get out of here before I change my mind!"

The coyote leaps to its feet and speeds off, around the rocks, back out into the desert. That's an old man coyote for you: always taking the deal. It's their nature.

Suddenly, he thinks back on the little blonde boy with the startling green eyes and feels very alone.

The fuckin' old man did this, brought this on. The world's going to end, all of humanity including the blonde boy will be reduced to ashes just as the old man is right now; his pulverized bones are mixed with the sand and the dirt Krycek's heels dig into. Somewhere, the old man is still laughing.

The old man needs to settle down and die already, like he should have when he went flying down the stairs. The old man needs to be shown that when the dust settles, humanity's going to remain thanks to one Mr. Alex Krycek, back from beyond. He'll get the job done where everyone else fails. That's the old man coyote way.

He stands up, swaying and unzips his fly. This old man coyote knows the best way to settle dust is to spray it down.

"Rest in pee, old man" he says. His bladder releases for what seems like an eternity. He turns his face up towards the crescent moon, facing south, back towards Mexico.


In Wyoming, the smell of Armageddon lives in the wind coming off the plains. The air is dry, tinged with smoke and pine, replete with fertilizer.

Scully is playing with her coffee cup across the diner table. She looks bad with short hair, sort of like a concentration camp survivor. She's entirely too thin for that sort of dyke cut and bad dye job. Mulder, however, looks the same with the exception of the beard.

"Why?" he asks for the twelve hundredth time in the past half hour. "Why this?"

Krycek leans his head to the right, enjoying the crack of his neck vertebrae. Mulder has bored him to a stupor with his uninspired litany of questions and concerns. He bends his neck the other way but nothing gives on the left side, there is no satisfying snap of bone and cartilage to keep him momentarily amused. He looks over at Scully, watches the way her finger runs lightly over the lip of the mug and suddenly he sees her, hair back to red and longer than it is now, bent over his dick, mouth slightly parted, moving forward, wrapping her lips around the head of his cock, swirling her tongue first to the right and then left, nicking the ridge around the head ever so lightly with her teeth--

"Answer me, dammit!"

His eyes unglaze and he shifts against the stiffening in his jeans. Mulder is glaring at him. Apparently he's missed something Mulder thinks is important. Of course, nothing Mulder thinks is very important; he'll hear him out just so Mulder will eventually shut up. He may need Mulder in this. He might as well play nice for now.

Mulder is still ranting. Mulder's beard actually bristles when he's angry.

"You still haven't answered the question. You come here, tell us we can trust you based on a story about regeneration--"

Krycek sighs. "Tch, tch, Mulder. You of all people should appreciate the irony in this. What do you need me to do? Get Scully to put on a robe and yell, 'Lazaruses, awake' in our general direction?"

Scully mouth makes a little moue at the joke and once again, he sees her, this time naked, legs wide open, spread eagled on the bed. He swallows hard thinking of what it would be like to bury his face in her snatch, hear her call, then scream his name.

He shifts again. The hard-on is making him uncomfortable.

Scully's hands clutch the coffee cup like a life preserver. "They told us this was over," she says.

Her tone is factual but in the back of those ice-wrecked eyes, Krycek can see despair dancing a mad tango with hope. She wants this. She wants this as much as Mulder ever wanted his "truth"; probably more. He wants to go across the table and put his arms around her, comfort her, tell her it's going to be okay and then fuck her stupid.

The vision of his cock buried up to the balls in Dana Scully is a mite too distracting. He must focus. "It's never over, " he says, then shifts again. "And they lie."

Mulder starts to say something, but Scully lays a hand on Mulder's arm to stop him. Krycek is glad to see it. If he has to sit through another Mulder-rant, he's going to have to eat Spooky's beloved instead of ordering pumpkin pie.

"I know they lie," Scully mutters. "I was told he would never be safe if they knew where he was, so I gave him up." Her face twists and she looks down at the table. "I came here to watch; to make sure he was safe."

The hard-on requires another shift. "How did you find him?""

Her smile is bitter. "Money and a lot of breaking and entering."

"If you found him so easily, what makes you think others couldn't?"

She looks up, defiant. "We destroyed the paper trail. So far, it's worked. He's fine."

Krycek leans forward, elbows on the table and lowers his voice. "You've been lucky. That's all. As he gets older, he'll get harder to miss. He's what? Almost three?"

She shakes her head. "Four. He'll be four."

"Scully--" Mulder hisses.

She sighs and runs a hand through her spiky dark hair. "What choice do we have, Mulder? He's right, we have been lucky."

"For starters, we don't have to believe this."

Scully looks across the table and smiles. Despite the bad haircut and the unstylish clothes, she is still beautiful. "Mulder," she says, "this time I get to believe."

Mulder turns and puts an arm around her. "Scully, he's asking us to--"

"I know what he's asking." She shuts her eyes for a brief moment, then continues. "If it's true, if he's still that important to the outcome, we have two choices. We can let go forever or we can--take care of this." Her breath shakes on the way in. "I can't let go. Not forever. I couldn't live with that."

Mulder leans in. His voice is barely audible. "Two innocent people are going to die. You could live with those consequences?"

Her mouth crumples. For a moment, Krycek is sure she's going to cry. "Not right now," she whispers. "But I'll learn to."

As she takes Mulder's hand in hers, Alex Krycek is one hundred percent sure his former partner at the Federal Bureau of Investigation will never appreciate the woman sitting next to him. But then again, maybe he's wrong because a moment later, Mulder squeezes Scully's hand, then leans over to place his forehead against her temple.

"All right," he whispers. "All right."

When she looks back Krycek's way, she's all business.

"When?"

"Tonight."

She starts. "So soon? We need time--"

Krycek rolls his eyes. "Time for what? You've been here almost three years, hiding and watching and I didn't come back from the dead just to sit around."

He throws Mulder a significant glance before he pushes a piece of paper across the table. "I'll meet you here eight hours from when I leave the diner. Do you know where that is?"

Scully take the paper, studies it and then nods. "We'll be there," she says.

He takes the note from her with a smile. "Let's take no chances. I'll burn it after I leave."

Ignoring Mulder's scowl, he throws a twenty on the table to cover all three of them. "See you later," he says then heads for the door.

Setting match to paper in the parking lot, he watches them through the diner window. They sit motionless in the booth, the way he left them. Mulder leans against her, eyes closed; Scully eyes are focused at some point far, far away. Their fingers stay entwine on the table's surface as the coffee grows cold. They remind him of an older Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods.

I guess that would make me the witch, he thinks, watching them as the paper ignites and curls and burns at his feet. When it has been consumed, he stamps it out, scuffs a boot heel over the remains to scatter the char.

As he drives out towards the ranch, he thinks back on his Grimm Brothers. It makes him smile to remember it wasn't the witch drove Hansel and Gretel into exile and danger.

It was their family.


Alex Krycek looks back towards the east. The smell of burning is strong on the early morning breeze.

Tears roll down Scully's cheeks unnoticed. She shifts the sleeping child in her arms. "He's gotten so big..." she whispers and then she's sobbing, crying her heart out, clutching the boy through the blankets like she means to meld his flesh into hers.

Mulder, a six foot plus study in awkward, steps over and pats her arm. "You'll wake him," he says.

Krycek shakes his head. "Not a chance. He'll be out for at least another three hours."

Scully looks over the child's head. "He didn't see--"

"He won't remember anything."

Mulder's hand is on her arm. "We have to go."

Krycek nods. "You do. Keep moving. Don't stay in one place too long."

"We know the drill," Mulder snaps.

Krycek snorts with laughter. "Prove it this time instead of sitting on your ass for three years."

As he turns away, he sees the look of hatred on Mulder's face. He seen it before, knows what it forecasts. This time, Alex Krycek is ready.

"You bastard," Mulder snarls and leaps. Krycek's fingers curl together; his bicep flexes as his arm comes up and back. His fist makes contact with the sweet spot on Mulder's jaw and there is a smacking sound closely akin to a cue ball hitting the cement floor of a pool hall.

Mulder spins sideways and lands face down in the dirt. Watching the trickle of blood ooze out of the corner of Fox Mulder's mouth, Alex Krycek is at peace with the world at last.

He moves in quickly, draws his foot back to put a cherry on this particular sundae. He aims carefully at Mulder's gluteus maximus and gets ready to drive his boot toe clean out of Mulder's mouth when the sound of a gun hammer freezes him in place. He does not need to glance at the sedan to know that Scully is pointing her SIG with one hand, holding the sleeping child with the other, but he looks anyway. Yes, that's the size of it.

"That's enough," she orders. "Move away from him."

Krycek takes a step back. His foot itches to finish the kick, but he puts his hands in his pockets instead. "Hey, I didn't start this."

Scully sighs. "It doesn't matter, we're not schoolchildren. Just...stop."

She holsters her gun then leans through the open car door and lays the child on the backseat of the sedan. She looks back where Mulder is laying on the ground. "Just great. Guess I'm driving," she mutters.

Krycek is pleased to note Mulder is having trouble sitting up. By the time Scully reaches his side, he has managed to prop himself up on his elbows. He leans sideways and spits blood onto the ground. "Fuckin' asshole--" he slurs.

"That's enough." Scully sounds pissed. She pulls a penlight out of her shirt pocket and examines Mulder's face. "Your jaw's not broken, but you probably have a concussion."

She helps Mulder to his feet. He staggers on the way up, barely able to stand. "I'm fine," he slurs again, looking over Krycek's way.

"Shut up," Scully snaps and to Krycek's surprise, Mulder obeys. She steers Mulder towards the passenger side of the sedan, then props him up against the car while she opens the door. "Get in," she orders. "I'll just be a minute."

Mulder half falls into the passenger seat. Once Scully slams the door, he slumps against the window. From the look of it, he's so angry it's a miracle the windows don't steam up.

The sight of Mulder, beaten and sulking fills Krycek with unutterable joy. He rocks back and forth on his heels, hands still in his pockets, throws his head back to the sky and laughs softly. "I am the greatest," he tells the morning stars. "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

Scully strides toward him, annoyance oozing from every pore. He gives her what he hopes is a disarming grin. "What about it, Agent Scully? Wanna go ten rounds with the champ?"

The Scully he knew before would have pulled out her SIG and pistol whipped him for a crack like that, but the woman in front of cracks only a reluctant smile. "Dammit, Krycek--"

Sirens start in the distance. Both of them look towards the east. The Van De Kamp place wasn't near town. The call must have just now come in. The trucks are on the way.

Scully stares off into the distant morning, hugging herself. Krycek is certain it's not the chill that makes her shiver. He sees her steal a glance back at the sedan, then shut her eyes. "What have we done?" she whispers.

"What had to be done."

She looks at him, draws a hand over her eyes. "They'll be looking for us."

Krycek shakes his head. "Not right away. Maybe not at all."

"How--"

"There are remains. They'll match William's DNA."

He can see how much it scares her. Normally he'd take pleasure in bringing that sort of fear to someone's eyes, but this time it just makes him feel sad. He looks towards the car, where the little boy is deep in drugged dreams before continuing. "It's from a failed cloning attempt. The sample was from when he was taken."

"Are there more? Attempts?"

"No."

She looks at him for a long moment, then looks down at the ground. He can't tell if she believes him. The truth is, he doesn't really care.

Finally, she looks back up. Behind her, the first pink streaks of dawn appear in the sky. "What about you?" she asks, looking past his shoulder, back in the direction of night.

"What about me?"

"Where are you going?"

"I'm--not sure yet."

Scully considers his answer, then heads back to the car. "Wait here a minute," she orders. When she returns, she holds out a key ring and a piece of paper with an address on it. "Here."

He studies the offering with no small degree of suspicion. "What's this?"

"It's a key to my brother's cabin. He won't be there. He's in the Persian Gulf."

"Where is it?"

"Colorado. They gave me a key a long time ago. I don't even know if it works." She shrugs. "To someone with your experience, it wouldn't be hard to break in to."

He gives her a wry smile. "Thanks for that vote of confidence."

She shrugs again. "It's a place to go, to recoup. We can't use it. You could, though."

He looks away from the gift and studies the horizon instead. Scully is offering him a safe house. My my, how the world has changed.

"Infinite life, infinite possibilities," he snorts, then shakes his head. "No thanks. I want to keep moving myself."

Scully nods. "All right. I thought I'd offer." The keys and paper disappear into her shirt pocket. She looks over her shoulder, back towards the east. "This isn't over."

Krycek is not sure what she's talking about: the apocalypse, the fight with Mulder or something else altogether so he just shakes his head. No. None of it is.

"We can help."

Ah, she's talking about the apocalypse. He takes a step closer, smiles down at her. "No you can't. Not with what comes next."

She raises a cautious hand, then to his astonishment, lays it on his arm. "I wanted--" She stops and clears her throat. "I wanted to say thank you." She looks back at the car. "For--"

"I know what for."

She takes her hand off his arm. They stand face to face. All he would have to do is lean over, just a tiny bit. He knows exactly how it would be: her face would tilt to meet his, his hands would rise to cup her jawline, he would be so tender--

The sedan's horn blares behind them, and they both jump backwards. Mulder has returned from his vacation in Smacked Stupid land. When they turn to face each other again, Krycek clicks his tongue against his teeth. "Almost, Agent Scully," he murmurs. "So close, but yet so far."

Scully laugh rings out in the dawn. "Don't flatter yourself, Krycek. Not only were you not in the right ballpark, you've never played this game."

The wind has picked up. He turns his collar up and inhales through his nose, breathing deep, savoring the scent of smoke, suppressing the urge to punch her stupid as he did Mulder. Instead he settles on a carnivorous smile. "Let me tell you something, too, Agent Scully. I'm giving you a chance here. Keep wee Willie safe and out of sight. If I think his location's been compromised, I'll pay you a visit. That time, there won't be a happy ending."

In the distance, the sound of sirens grows louder. "There are no happy endings," Scully says. "Not for this world."

"Maybe not. But there's life." He turns and starts to walk back to the truck. "It's a beautiful thing."

"If you need to reach us, contact Skinner," Scully calls.

He can't help it. He throws back his head and laughs. "Give him my best," he calls back.

As he drives away, still snickering, he thinks about what he said about life. Down in Mexico, there's a little boy he should get to know and who knows? Maybe someday, he'll teach the kid how to pitch a curve ball. Maybe someday there will be time for picnics and family outings where he and the boy careen down roller coasters together or give cheesy grins for the camera, both wearing mouse ears, arms and faces pink with sunburns.

He turns the truck north towards Canada. He thinks about Mulder, lying in the dirt. He thinks about Scully's hand on his arm, her choked and bitter gratitude. His smile broadens. The wheels are in motion that will save the world and this time he's the one who's going to drive this zamboni all over alien ice.

Yeah, maybe someday there will be a place for home and hearth in his new life. The one thing he's sure of is that day is not today.

Thank god, it's not today.


Finis.

Thanks: to S. E. Parsons, Livia Balaban, CageyKlio and the Kirbyfest for the amazing LJ beta. Special thanks to Parsons for the title and for putting up with the phone calls and snippets during work. She's a patient woman.

Notes: At 1:45 p.m. about a month ago Krycek showed up in my cube. He was alive and all he wanted to do with drink, fuck and raise hell. So, I let him. He's back to save the world. Who am I to stop him?

Oh and uh---sorry Kim. Love you.

Like it? Hate it? Let's talk. msebasky@yahoo.com

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Fandom:  X-Files
Title:  Out of the Box
Author:  M. Sebasky   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  NC-17  |  33k  |  02/14/04
Summary:  The world needs a rock and roll messiah. Alex Krycek is up for it.
Notes:  Krycek, post-show slash, violence and sex: sometimes together. One teensy character death. Just one. That's not too bad.
Links: Please ask first. I like to know where I am at the end of the day.
Disclaimer: Chris Carter owns them. I kill them or make them cry. I get no profit for it, only pleasure; lots and lots of pleasure. The concept of the Rock and Roll Messiah belongs to Sam Shepard and I thank him for it.
Feedback: Iffin' you wanna.
Thanks/Notes at end.

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